Legal Memorandum: Appellate Court’s role in a challenge to the sufficiency of evidence

Issue: Under Illinois law, what is the appellate court’s function on appeal for a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence?

Area of Law: Litigation Practice & Procedure, Litigation Practice and Procedure
Keywords: ; Evidence; Insufficient evidence; Identificaiton
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: 409 U.S. 188
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2016

When considering a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence in a criminal case, it is not the task of the reviewing court to retry the defendant. People v. Lloyd, 2013 IL 113510, ¶ 42. Instead, the inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. Where inconsistencies and conflicts exist in the evidence, the trier of fact has the responsibility of weighing the credibility of the witnesses and resolving these conflicts and inconsistencies. People v. Byron, 164 Ill.2d 279, 299 (1995). A reviewing court will not substitute its judgment for that of the trier of fact on questions involving the weight of the evidence or on the credibility of witnesses unless the evidence is "’so palpably contrary to the verdict or so unreasonable, improbable or unsatisfactory as to create a reasonable doubt of [the defendant’s] guilt.’" People v. Rodriguez, 312 Ill.App.3d 920, 932 (2000) (quoting People v. Abdullah, 220 Ill.App.3d 687, 693 (1991)).

The prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the identity of the person who committed the crime. [statref]720 ILCS 5/3-1 (West 2012) [/statref]; People v. Slim, 127 Ill.2d 302, 307 (1989). An identification of the accused by one credible witness may be sufficient to sustain a conviction. Slim, 127 Ill.2d at 307. Conversely, an identification will not be deemed sufficient to support a conviction if it […]